Jerusalem: Toughening its stand on
Iranian nukes, Israel on Monday told US that it will leave "no
option" off the table including a military action to foil
Islamic Republic`s nuclear ambitions.
"We do not conceal our position. I believe that no
option should be ruled out, and I recommend others adopt the
same approach," Barak said today adding, "This is our
position. We mean it," Defence Minister Ehud Barak said at a
joint press conference with US Defence Secretary Robert Gates.
The Israeli Defence Minister also emphasised that
his country prefers to defend itself independently from what
it has dubbed as an existential threat.
"We are grateful to the US administration for its
continued support for Israel. We are not blind. We know
everything we do has implications on our neighbours," he said.
"It is always good to know that the United States, as
the strongest world power and leader of the free world, stands
by the free, moderate states against rogue elements in the
Middle East and other corners of the globe," Barak added.
Addressing concerns in Israel over Washington`s
attempt to engage Iran diplomatically, Gates said that it was
"not an open-ended offer."
"We will continue to ensure that Israel has the most
advanced weapons for its national defence," Gates said. Barak
expressed hopes that US efforts to engage Iran would be kept
"I think that the President is certainly anticipating
or hoping for some kind of response this fall, perhaps by the
time of the UN General Assembly," Gates told reporters.
He also indicated that sanctions were a possibility if
diplomacy fails, while highlighting plans for a loosely
defined defence umbrella meant to protect Washington`s allies
in the region.
Gates is scheduled to meet Israeli Prime Minister
Benjamin Netanyahu later today. The Israeli defence minister
yesterday met with US Mideast envoy, George Mitchell, for the
first in a series of meetings with top American officials this
US National Security Adviser, James Jones, and top
Iran and Mideast specialist, Dennis Ross, are also scheduled
to arrive in the country in the coming days.
Israel has from time-to-time issued veiled threats of
a military strike against Iran, but officially has maintained
that it prefers internationally mediated diplomatic solution,
including use of severe sanctions.
Iran denies that its nuclear programme is for
non-civilian use and a top commander of the Iranian
Revolutionary Guard last week threatened to attack the Jewish
state`s nuclear facilities if it carries military attack on
any part of its territory.